Sneak Peek: Crimson Crown (7 Realms Series) by Cinda Chima

OMG.  I cannot wait for this book!  <3 Han!

The chapter 1 sneak peek went up yesterday.  Click here to read.

Eeep!  Can’t wait!!!!

 

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

*TOP 10 OF 2012*

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.”

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (November 29, 2011)

RATING 4 STARS

I read Legend right after reading The Grey Wolf Throne.  The two books complimented each other.  It was really interesting, because I really like Han in the other series.  Day is a similar character. He’s poor with a tormented past.  He’s on his own and will do anything to survive.  One difference is that Han seems to be a bit of an egoist while Day is still trying to act within his own moral code.  Day hasn’t killed anyone.

And that’s what spurs this book.  Although he’s caused the Republic lots of problems, he hasn’t killed anyone.  Then one night things go horribly wrong and he’s accused of killing June’s brother.  The story unfolds beautifully, not too fast, not too slow.  We learn what happened to June’s family and the clues her brother left for her.  June hunts Day with the intention of killing him.  She’s the Republic’s golden child.  She’s smart, cunning, and merciless.  She’s the youngest solider and the smartest.

I LOVED this book.  It was dark and intense, with reasons that resonated with the reader.  You were routing for June and then hoping she’d fail, because you are routing for Day, too. Their two worlds collide and the story is just awesome!  I can’t say enough about this book.  It wasn’t on my short list of books because I hate the cover.  Yeah, I’m a girl and it’s an ugly cover.  Anyway, Legend is in my top 10 books read in 2012.  So why’d I give it 4 stars?

Lemme explain.  There is only one reason why I didn’t give it 5 fricken fab stars – the formatting.  Printing things in bold, weird colors was a gimmick that this book did NOT need.  Instead of lending to the book, these issues made Legend difficult to read from major headaches and eyestrain.  Publisher of Legend, I have one thing to say to you: I hope you print the next book normal so I can read it.  I completely hated the publisher’s guts while I was reading this book.  Doing anything that makes it more difficult for a reader to read a book is STUPID.  You might as well be shooting Chinese stars out of the pages at my eyeballs.  Majorly annoyed about that.

To the author: Your book was so good, I endured the migraines to finish it.

4 star book review

If you liked DIVERGENT, SHATTER ME, or 7 REALMS SERIES then you’ll like this.  Weird cross over on that last one, but I stand by it.  Han and Day are both awesome.  <3 <3 <3

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Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION: “Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.”

Paperback: 320 pages
Recommended Age: Older Teen
Publisher: Tor Teen; First Edition edition (July 3, 2012)

RATING 4 STARS 

I almost walked away from this one a few times… But, I kept picking it up anyway and, eventually, it was worth it.

Anna Dressed in Blood has a great premise – and that’s what kept me from giving up on it. It’s not vampires, love triangles, and teenage angst (at least not entirely.) It’s a ghost story. A really creepy ghost story at times.

The problem, at least for me, was how slow it was to take full advantage of the premise. I was almost half-way through the book before the plot itself was gripping enough to keep me turning the pages. In and of itself, that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. But, during that down time there wasn’t anything to balance out the lack of excitement. Every time it felt like it was about to kick into gear, it still managed to meander of pretty quickly.

I would really have liked to see more character depth from the beginning. More relationships. More conflict. More to keep me reading, and building the suspense, while waiting for the “ghosty” parts. Heck, I really wouldn’t have been upset to see any of the characters suffer a horrible death for the better part of half the book. That’s a problem.

As the story goes on, I never really fell for the protagonist, Cas, but there was still enough there to keep me hooked. Maybe that was the problem – the bulk of the beginning was supposed to be introducing Cas… and I just never really grew to like him during that time. At times I actually disliked him. If nothing else, how do you have a “ghost hunter” who seems so weak at times.

I normally would have rated this around three stars. But, my rule is that if I’ll pick up the next book in the series it’s worth 4. And, I just may grab the next one. Maybe. This book actually ended on a note that strongly reminded me of Demon Kissed – and that’s a great series.

***Although YA, my twelve year old will have to wait for this one… Otherwise I foresee a lot of nightmares in the near future. Just an FYI – maybe your kid is made of stronger stuff. But, I was creeped out at times, and I’m old enough to know the bogeyman isn’t under the bed.

4 star book review

Recommended for people who read YA Horror, Ghost Stories, and like a good creep-out.  Need a spooky read for Halloween?  This is it.  Anna Dressed in Blood is followed by Girl of Nightmares (release date Aug 7, 2012).

Grab Anna Dressed in Blood on Amazon now. It was only $2.99 when I grabbed it!

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Book Review: On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

On Silver Wings by Evan C. Currie

Mike’s Review

DESCRIPTION “In the future, mankind has colonized other worlds, mined asteroid belts, and sent ships so far into the blackness of space that light from their drives won’t reach Earth for centuries. Through it all, life has been found in almost every system we visited and yet we’ve never encountered another intelligent species.

Until now. When the Colony on the planet known as Hayden’s World stops transmitting on their CASIMIR FTL system, a Solari Fleet Task Force is sent to investigate. When they arrive there are enough oddities in the situation that they in turn send in a special operations unit to contact the colonists and determine what happened. Only one of those operators survives to make planet fall. Sergeant Sorilla Aida finds herself against an alien force of unknown power and capability. Her only assets?

A depleted suit of power armor, her rifle, basic kit, and a few hundred Hayden born civilians looking to take back their home. Just what she was trained for.”

RATING 4 STARS

I picked this up after reading Currie’s “Into the Black: Odyssey One.” That was a great read, and I was anxious to see what else he’d done. I wasn’t disappointed.

As opposed to a lot of science fiction, here we’re given a great female protagonist. And instead of a utopian future and amazing tech, you’ll find a universe that you can easily relate to. Humanity is still the same. And so, when the protagonist is dropped into truly alien experiences, you’re along for a great ride.

The pace is quick. But character development and relationships aren’t sacrificed for plot. I wish my daughter read more action/adventure and sci-fi, because there are so few great female characters out there. Here’s one where the fact that the story centers on a female marine is simply taken for granted. It’s a non-issue, there’s no pandering, and the story tears along dragging the reader with it.

Since this isn’t a space epic, the scale is much more local – and it works. That alone would be a nice change of pace, but the fullness of the story and the great characters make it a 5-star book.

4 star book review

Recommended for Sci-fi readers and anyone who likes a solid cheap kindle book.

Grab On Silver Wings now on Amazon!  It’s only $3.99!

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Book Review: The Selection by Keria Cass

The Selection by Keira Cass

A Pirate Princess Review

DESCRIPTION: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (April 24, 2012)

RATING 5 STARS OF AWESOMENESS!

AWE-SOME! It’s not even just some part awesome, it’s all awesome!!! 😀

♥♥♥ed it!!! America Singer is the main character int his book and is-may I say?-AMAZING! The other main character is Prince Maxon, whom America meets when she ends up in the Selected 35 girls that the Prince will meet and converse with to see which one he will marry.

I had covered my mouth to keep from yelling, “I knew it!” when she ended up a Selected. The main conflict in this book is something like this: America thought what she wanted, but now she’s having second thought. I know it’s not a question, but that’s the main conflict, at least how I see it.

The book was a fun mix of competition, questions, and excitement! I love excitement!!! The book is not dystopian, of course, unless you count attacks (I don’t count that.). The book had lots of laughs that I loved and parts that made me go, “Oh no she didn’t!”. The moment I read about Aspen and America together, I loved it. I wanted them together. But then I met Prince Maxon and I knew they would be together a lot. When Aspen did what he did, I called him a jerk.I officially don’t like Aspen. Hmph.

The end of the book was very good (I want mooooore!!!). I. Can’t believe how long I have to wait for the next book!!!

5 stars, books are better, book reviews, best in YA books, best YA novels

Recommended for readers who enjoyed Matched, Shiver, YA, Paranormal, and lighter dystopian books. Related posts: MATCHED SHIVER reviews.

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Book Review: Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie

A Pirate Princess Review

DESCRIPTION: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (September 20, 2011)

RATING – 3 STARS – I ENJOYED THIS BOOK

This book was a good one. It’s dystopian and I still liked it. I don’t usually like dystopian books….at all.  (If you are looking for dystopian reads, check out Marie’s reviews.  She <3s that kinda thing).

Matched takes place in a province that part of something bigger. The Society. Cassia, Ky, and Xander are all main characters in this book, but the main main one is Cassia, a 16-year-old girl.

The main conflict in this book is something like this: Should Cassia trust the Society? Was it really a glitch was happened when she saw Ky’s face flash across the screen for a moment?(Yes, I know that’s two questions, but they’re to give you an idea of what the book is driven by.)

This book is relationship driven and it’s not fully dystopian. It’s like a dystopian/romance. Never read one of those before. The book was good enough for me to keep reading it. The ending was something of a cliffhanger. Not a real one, but it made you want more.

The book itself was good. Good job Ally! I liked Ky, I think he’s my favorite character in this book. I thought that at some parts is slow, but Ally made up for that. At the end there was some action brewing and I love action (I mostly read plot/action driven books.). However, I’m not sure it’s good enough for me to buy the next book. I bought this book because of the cover, which is AMAZING btw, but it’s still not exactly my type of book.

The last book I read was also a romance, but not fully dystopian. It’s called The Selection. I think the two books are very similar, but The Selection is more exciting and fun because of it’s main character, America (Not the country. The main character is actually called America.). In Matched there wasn’t a lot of laughs….Barely any. That made me sad. 🙁 It had some action, which was okay with me! The Selection had similar action-not exactly the same, but similar-but more of it.

pirate princess book reviews 3 stars

Recommended for dystopian fans of books like HUNGER GAMES, MAZE RUNNER, and DIVERGENT.  MATCHED is the first book in the trilogy, followed by CROSSED, and then REACHED.

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Related posts: DIVERGENT & THE SELECTION Reviews

Book Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

insurgent review, divergent 3, dystopian ya, Chicago, strong female heroineInsurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

Marie’s Review

Description: “One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 1, 2012)

4 STARS – YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent triology by Veronica Roth.  You know how middle books can feel like a bridge to get to the final showdown at the end of the third book in a triology?  Insurgent wasn’t like that.  It stood on it’s own, offering the reader more insight into Tris’ world.

This wasn’t a light happy read.  There was a lot of Tris grappling with her parent’s sacrifice that lead her to be suicidal for a good chunk of the book.  It wasn’t just that she was moving through life as a fearless Dauntless/ Divergent, and the author made that very clear.  For a good portion of the book Tris had a death wish.

There is more death, deciete, and trust issues in Insurgent.  Tris’ problems are growing, partly because she can’t let go of what happened to her in the previous book (and honestly, I wouldn’t expect her to).  Her past is haunting her, altering her actions.  That compenent of the book was well executed.

I have mixed feelings about the bad guy and am interested to see what happens in the next book.  It’ll be a kick in the teeth if Jeanine was really a good guy, and no one could tell because she was heartless.  That’s my prediction.  We’ll see what happens.

I’m a little bipolar when it comes to Four and Tris’ relationship.  I don’t want to like it, but I do.  It seems like she’s screwing it up on purpose, but both of them seem to have trust issues.  While it’s annoying, it’s also more believable.  They’ve both been through a lot and I don’t think we know as much about Tobias to really get a good glimpse into his head.  I was surprised Tris allowed him to kiss her at the end.  I think I would have punched him, if he did that to me.  Major Tobias points lost.  And oddly, I’m starting to route for Peter.  I know I’m not supposed to, and I totally hated him in Divergent, but now he’s all rogue and unpredictable.  But Tobias… Tobias, you poor bastard. Tris is becoming a nutcase, and it seems like you already are.

The reason why I gave Insurgent 4 stars was because it felt like the book didn’t have a powerful climax.  We went through a lot to get to the ending, and that scene felt about as intense as the rest.  It was only the last few pages that really started to build, but the book ends.  Major shocker at the end.

Yes, Insurgent ended on a cliffhanger.  Yes, I like cliffhangers and this one was well done.  It made me a Veronica Roth fan and I can’t wait for the next book.

4 star book review

Recommended for: Hunger Games fans, dystopian fans, Shatter Me fans, readers of dystopian lit, YA survival stories.

The kindle edition of INSURGENT (Divergent #2) is on sale for $9.99 right now, which is great.  Go get it!

Related posts: Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Book Review: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth review, dystopia book review, ya dystopia review, paranormal book reviewsDIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Marie’s Review

DESCRIPTION:

“In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.”

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)

REVIEW 4 STARS–YOU GOTTA READ THIS!

In Roth’s dystopian Chicago something interesting happens – people divide into different factions based on ability.  It’s the ultimate need to fit in, but I had issues accepting the factions would occur to begin with.  The background as to why the factions occurred wasn’t compelling enough to pause believablity.  But, I looked past it because the story seemed different than a lot of what’s out there.

The other reason I gave it four stars was the ending.  I refuse to post a spoiler here, but everything lined up to be horribly romantic–but it seemed like the author chickened out at the last second and went for the crowd pleaser/ cheeser.  As an adult, it irked me, but I can see younger teens enjoying the end of the book.

Due to the violent nature of the book, I think this is better suited for older teens.  Izzy (our Pirate Princess Reviews) couldn’t stomach it.  There is some gore in scenes where kids are fighting to the death.  Kids who don’t get into a faction are factionless, and are better off dead.  And Beatrice’s faction only takes the best.  The rest are tossed out.  Or killed while trying to claw their way into the faction.

That was some of the issues I had with the factions.  I had trouble believing that people fit so squarely into one slot for so long, and that parents would willingly sever all ties with their children if they chose a different faction.  So, you know I have issues with the factions…

Looking past that, it was an excellent story.  It was adventure driven with elements of survival, trust, and a tiny bit of romance.  The story moved at a good pace.  I enjoyed Four, even though his name threw me initially.  In some scenes where they were counting (which they seemed to do a lot when jumping onto/ off of stuff) it took me a bit to figure out they were talking about him, especially if Four’s name started the sentence.  The proper name capitalization alone didn’t make it clear that it was Four the person and not four the number.

I liked how Roth wove the world that we know with what it became.  Her dystopia is barren and dry.  The sections of the city are dangerous and deserted.  This book also has bad bad guys.  They aren’t nice guys dressed up as monsters–they were actually bad people doing evil stuff.  I liked that.  It made the story more compelling.

And the heroine was kick-ass.  She stuck her neck out and risked everything.  Stuff goes to hell and she doesn’t cower and wait for someone to save her.  But she still accepts help when she needs it.  Great character.  So, you have a book full of awesomeness with some minor flaws.

INSURGENT is the second book in this trilogy and is scheduled to be released on May 1, 2012.

divergent book review

This book is recommended for older teens and adults who like survival stories.  Dystopian readers will enjoy Roth’s Chicago.  If you liked the HUNGER GAMES or SHATTER ME, you’ll like this.

PS – The Kindle edition has several formatting/ grammar issues.